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Interview: Alan Taylor

During our press day visits we caught up with Dublin born designer Alan Taylor. Having worked with Alexander McQueen as well as Simone Rocha, Taylor is one designer to remember.

PlanetNotion: Tell us a bit about your background & training? (Where did you study, what inspired you to choose fashion…)
Alan Taylor: I actually fell into fashion, I had always been fascinated with the construction of everything, how things were put together and how they worked, I did woodwork and construction studies through secondary school and started working on a photography portfolio which turned into an art portfolio. I got into an art and design foundation and got to try out the fashion department for a week and it blew me away. You have to realize, and I’m sure it’s the exact same with people not from London or any of the major cities, but there was no real forward thinking fashion scene in Dublin when I was growing up (well not that I was aware of), and the accessibility of the internet and blogging was just not there. As a result I was oblivious to the truly inspirational brands that are out there on an international level, so once I got a glimpse of this I knew it was for me and it took off from there. During my BA in NCAD university in Dublin I interned with DavidDavid, Agi&Sam and Alexander McQueen and upon graduating I was approached by Simone Rocha to be her first assistant in which I worked closely with her for her first three seasons and then started my own label.

PN: How would you sum up your latest collection in 3 words?
A.T: Abstract yet understated.

PN: What would your designs sound like if they were a band?
A.T: They would sound like a Sigur Ros song, minimal and understated at first but once it goes on, you realise the multiple of layers build up to a crescendo of details that balance perfectly without being frivolous.

PN: Do you have a favourite piece that you’ve designed, that you feel sums up what you’re about?
A.T: I don’t have a favourite piece, but my favourite outfit is the final outfit from my lookbook the net and blue tweed suit with the white printed shirt.

PN: What is it you love about working in London?
A.T: The thing I love about working in London is the Menswear scene that has exploded at the moment. It has so many designers that are pushing each other to compete at a global level while helping each other out.

PN: What’s the most important thing about London that makes it such an innovative place for fashion? What would make it better?
A.T: London is the most consistently forward thinking fashion capital in the world. It isn’t trend driven and values creativity and business longevity over instant profits. And what could be done to make it better is being done, London Collection : Men is an amazing step forward for London based men’s designers.

PN: Do you think that there’s a strong relationship between fashion and music? How would you describe it?
A.T: I think there is a strong relationship between music and fashion, especially with the ever growing presence of Fashion Films within the industry, but even before that there is such emphasis on what songs to have for a catwalk. It sets the mood for the collection and helps portray what you are trying to get across in your work.

PN: What is your absolute favourite thing about fashion, and working in fashion? What keeps you coming back for more?
A.T: The creativity and always pushing myself. As hard as it is I never compare myself to another designer as you need to find your own path and I just try to better what I have done last season.

PN: Who are your design idols (fashion or other) and what is it about them/their work that you love?
A.T: One of my idols is Dan Flavin. He was a minimal artist that made these inspirational light installations in the 60’s. Flavin was one of the first to use light as a medium and centrepiece to his installations which not only dictated the way the viewer sees the art but also the appearance of the entire room in which it is placed. This to me is a mind-blowing concept (maybe not as shocking by todays standards but back in the 1960’s when he made these pieces it was expanding possibilities of art in a whole new direction.)  Flavin has always been an inspiration in my work; he has come into every one of my collections so far and will continue to in the future.

PN: Is there anyone you’d like to work with that you haven’t yet, or work with again?
A.T: I would like to work with Felicity Marshall again, we worked together on a concept for prints and she did 5 illustrations for me, I really love her stripped back minimal style of drawing.

I would love to work with either Converse or Churches brogues in the future to do collaboration.  They are both iconic shoe brands and have great sentimental value to me.

PN: Tell us something about what you have planned for next season?
A.T: Going to get a bit surreal.

www.alantaylordesign.co.uk



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